COVID-19: Doctors share advice on how to gather safely during the holidays

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Canadians show little consensus on when COVID-19 vaccine mandates should end: poll
Ipsos polling done exclusively for Global News shows little consensus among Canadians on how long COVID-19 vaccine mandates should remain in place. – Nov 26, 2021

As more and more families start to make plans for holiday gatherings, doctors are sharing advice on how to do so safely and avoid transmission of COVID-19.

On Thursday, the Saskatchewan government extended public health measures, including mandatory masking and proof of vaccination, until Jan. 31. There are no limits on household gathering sizes.

“I think what’s really important for families looking ahead to Christmas is to ensure that people that want to gather are all at least two weeks post their (COVID-19 vaccine) second dose,” Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Katharine Smart said.

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Smart added that anyone who has symptoms of illness should not be gathering with their families.

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Smart said families should assess their own personal risk factors, too, like taking elderly and immunocompromised family members into consideration.

“It’s also really important for people who are eligible for their booster shots to get those,” Smart said.

Smart also offered up guidance for families with children five to 11 who won’t be two weeks past their second dose by Christmas.

“I think it’s encouraging that we’re seeing quite a good immune response with even one dose with the vaccination for younger children,” Smart said.

“Now that it’s being rolled out, most families will have the opportunity for their kids five to 11 to have at least one dose of the vaccine before the holiday season, which is encouraging.

“And again, I think families need to keep in mind what the risk profile is within their own family when they’re making decisions about how to gather and also what the spread and prevalence of COVID is in their community at that time.”

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Saskatchewan Medical Association president Dr. Eben Strydom encourages everyone to get vaccinated, saying it’s the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

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He added that people who are sick should get tested right away.

He also said people who are medically vulnerable who want to gather should wear a mask.

“We know masks are very helpful in reducing the risk of spread. Wash hands (and) keep that social distance, we know all of these little things that we got used to is actually very, very effective,” Strydom said.

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